Currently, climate change is one of the greatest concerns across the globe. The past 200 years have witnessed we changing the world at every aspect. Some evolution brought about huge benefits to the progressing of human society whereas some incurred environmental disasters that we are bound to confront with. There are some things we can do to make contributions to a promising future, and reducing your carbon footprint is a good start and a step we must take.

I. What Is a Carbon Footprint?

It is guessed that you may have heard of this term when discussing climate-related issues yet know little about it. So what does it mean? A carbon footprint is used to measure the emission of greenhouse gases such carbon dioxide and methane. These greenhouse gases are capable of trapping heat in the atmosphere, thereby aggravating global warming. A carbon footprint is calculated by the sum (usually in tons per year) of greenhouse gases that are created and then released by human activities into the atmosphere. Carbon footprints are applied to a wide range of groups including products, activities, individuals, communities and even countries.

  • The Average Carbon Footprint

When it comes to the average carbon footprint, it is a must for us to point out which average we are going to measure. As stated above, the average can be a person, people of the same community, and even an entire country. Even then, we still need to take into consideration many different factors that are calculated into a certain entity’s carbon footprint.

  • Measuring Emissions

There are a variety of average levels of carbon emissions based on results of studies and researches. Territorial emissions are always adopted by governments as effective ways to measure the amount of green gases produced within a certain country. Take the UK as an example. The year 2018 has witnessed the UK reaching 448.5 million tons of CO2 emissions, a drop of 43% since 1990.

Well, the data above seems to be agreeable, whereas the total carbon footprint requires more than that. For instance, the data of consumption emission focuses on the identity (who is responsible for them) instead of the location (where these emissions are generated).

Again, we use the UK as a good example. Data shows that import-related greenhouse gas emissions in the UK have virtually increased. Such emissions in 2017 were 18% higher than those recorded in 1997.

It is quite obvious that the latter tells the story behind the figures. Let’s put it in another way. If a person dwelling in the UK buys a product produced in China, the corresponding emissions contained in processes such as manufacturing, shipping and actual using should be attributed to the UK. So you can see this measuring level is much more fair yet is difficult to trace.

  • Global Averages

How much CO2 does the average person emit? Here Simple Flask presents you data from Our World in Data, facilitating your understanding toward the per-capita CO2 emissions.

carbon map

The 2017 data lays an emphasis on territorial emissions, so the part of traded goods is not included and thus not accounted. When it comes to the emissions per capita, it is better for you to take into consideration the population of each country.

CountryEmissions per capita (tons of CO2)Total annual emissions (tons of CO2)Total Population
China6.929.84 billion1.42 billion
United States16.215.27 billion0.33 billion
India1.842.46 billion1.37 billion
Canada15.55571.14 million36.73 million
Australia16.96417.04 million24.59 million
United Kingdom5.81387.39 million66.68 million
Nigeria0.64122.78 million191.84 million

II. How to Calculate My Carbon Footprint?

According to an authoritative report, approximately 100 corporations are responsible for 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, we individuals also, more or less, make contributions to the global carbon footprints. Our activities as well as the lifestyle we choose are influencing the environment. Here comes a question: How can I calculate my carbon footprint?

Using a carbon footprint calculator saves your time and labor. This calculator requires considerably granular amounts of details so if you are searching for a simpler one, go and find the one supported by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature). Both of them keep the same rule – throwing questions on you about your daily activities and life. After you have answered the questions, calculators will picture your entire carbon emissions & footprints. These questions cover key areas of your life and you are supposed to answer them by heart.

Key Areas of Your LifeExamples
Home Energy Use And Waste ProductionNatural gas, electricity, daily waste and so on.
TravelTravel-related emissions such as those emitted from cars/motorbikes/planes/liners
DietVegetables and meats share different carbon footprints. Meats are generally more energy-intensive.
Shopping HabitsThe frequency of buying new items like electronics and household appliances and the type of items you prefer to buy is the key issue.

III. Why Do I Need to Reduce My Carbon Footprint?

It is understandable that you may wonder – why do I need to reduce my carbon footprint? Compared with large corporations and governments, an individual seems to contribute little to the global carbon emissions.

In fact, great things are done by mass effort. We are affecting the environment silently yet strikingly. At present, the relation/link between climate change and greenhouse gas emissions is too arresting and annoying to ignore. Average global temperatures are rising steadily, coupled with severe weather events such as La Nina and El nino. The shortening of habitats and food resources are endangering the existence of wildlife across the world. Other serious environment changes such as acidification and desertification make it much more difficult for farmers to embrace a good harvest. Just as you have known, all these ecological disasters are ascribed to abnormal human activities.

Sounds like we must take a step forward to help the earth. In reality, we are not just saving the world, instead, we are saving ourselves from the past mistakes. By reducing your footprint, you are supposed to reduce the overall emissions of greenhouse gases. In this battle against climate change, everyone can be a warrior.

Again, reducing the carbon footprint is not all about helping the environment. It also provides us with a chance to live a healthier lifestyle. Either by switching to a new-energy vehicle or using less plastic products can make a difference. So what can we do additionally to turn the tide?

IV. 10 Tips on Reducing Carbon Footprint

In the previous part Simple Flask has presented basic knowledge about carbon footprint, carbon emissions and climate change. Now we are moving onto the next part: tips on reducing carbon footprint. Don’t worry, we will not ask you to do impractical things such as never drive again! And these tips are virtually helpful and easy to approach.

  1. Shop with a reusable shopping bag

Using a reusable bag, say, a cloth bag, in place of single-use plastic bag during shopping is quite easy and helpful. White Pollution caused by plastic products (especially plastic bags) has poisoned the land & ocean and the creature relying on them. It is often the case that we see news reports about poor turtles filled with plastic bags in their stomach, and about over-loaded landfills failing to cope with more plastic wastes. So next time you go shopping in a supermarket, reject their plastic ones with your sustainable bag!

reusable stainless steel water bottle

2. Drink with a reusable stainless steel water bottle

What kind of water container do you use for water intake, a plastic water bottle, a ceramic coffee mug or a stainless steel water bottle? Ceramic coffee mugs are sustainable, but they are prone to impact and are considerably fragile. And the ceramic debris may cut your fingers. A plastic water bottle is the last option for you to choose if you want to live a healthy hydration life with less carbon footprint. Plastic water bottles are mostly disposable ones, and are difficult to be bio-degraded by the land & ocean. Drinking with such a single-use water container is expected to increase the entire carbon emissions and thereby should be avoided.

Stainless steel water bottles, made by stainless steel SUS304 (18-8), are eco-friendly and can be used repeatedly for at least 5 years, ideal for a low carbon emission life. Simple Flask stainless steel water bottles adopt premium material with our unique insulation technology, capable of offering you a quality hydration life. Our bottles are 100% BPA-free and are quite durable, protecting both your life and the environment.

3. Sip with a stainless steel straw

Disposable plastic products are among the major contributors to environmental pollution and climate change. It is a must for us to use less or even discard the use of it completely. When drinking coffee or soft drinks, we are given plastic straws in most cases. These single-use products do offer us convenience, but they also pose threats to the earth we are living in.

Sustainable materials such as stainless steel and biodegradable materials like bamboo are ideal alternatives to plastic straws. It is advisable for you to pick up a stainless steel straw for repeated use as it is more durable than a straw made by bamboo.

4. Use less water

If you want to drink water, enjoy it as much as you can. But, if you are using excessive amounts of water to, say, have a bath, then you should really restrain yourself. It takes great resources and labors to transport and deliver water to your home during which carbon footprints are generated. Therefore, in order to lower them, Simple Flask suggests you turn off the taps when you are rubbing body wash, brushing teeth or shaving.

5. Switch to new-energy cars

Traditional vehicles adopt petroleum as the fuel, which directly increases carbon emissions worsening the global warming eventually. To make the transportation means much more clean, companies around the world have invested in new-energy vehicles. Tesla, for example, has managed to invent electric cars. Their Model X and Model Y series have resoundingly hit the market and made a difference.

Well, if it is unfeasible for you to buy a new-energy car, you can try to drive less and take public transportation such as underground/subway and bus.

6. Cycle to work

Apart from those mentioned in the 5th tip, Simple Flask advises you to ride a bike or walk to work if feasible. Walking and cycling are environmental-friendly means that account low carbon emissions and are beneficial to your health. It is also a good way to relieve traffic congestion or jam, further reducing the overall amount of carbon emissions.

7. Turn off the lights

Powering your room drains huge electricity, and can be a great waste when the room is left empty or unused. In view of the huge carbon emissions both directly and indirectly generated by powering lights, WWF has launched Earth Hour, an energy-efficient campaign aiming to strengthen people’s awareness of carbon emissions. WWF believes that by shifting the attitude towards carbon emissions, these negative effects on the earth can be relieved for sure. Although we can never control the electricity applied to factories and other large facilitates, we individuals can turn off the lights as long as we are not using them, or replace traditional bulbs with energy-saving LED ones. Quite easy, isn’t it?

8. Plant a garden

Planting a garden in which you grow fresh vegetables and fruits is another practical method to make contributions to the reduction of carbon emissions. If you have such a small piece of land, and it is viable at the same time, go and plant your own garden! In addition, you are advised to plant flowers and trees to clear the air, and the plants you cultivate are capable of absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through photosynthesis for you!

9. Go digital

Holding meetings via Internet is much more economical compared with the traditional way, especially during the current pandemic period. Simple Flask also suggests you use online documents in place of printed documents, which helps to save paper and printing ink. Go digital is expected to shine bright in the days ahead, so it would be best for you to be accustomed to the new tread beforehand. Just as the old saying goes, “The early bird gets the worm!”

10. Reduce, reuse, and recycle

The final tip is more like a general rule: reduce, reuse, and recycle. In our daily life, we should reduce the adoption of energy-intensive activities, reuse items, and try our best to recycle things for a clean future. Some IT equipment can be successfully recycled into new ones through revamping and invention. Simple Flask believes that through our joint efforts, we can reduce our carbon footprint heading for a brighter future.